You recently visited a website and now your browser is behaving funny or it no longer goes to your home page.  Or perhaps you installed a print driver or some other software on your computer  and suddenly you have extra desktop icons that you didn’t see before.

How many times have you asked these questions:

  • How did that toolbar get there?
  • When did that desktop icon show-up?
  • Where did my browser home page go?
  • Why did it change?

Most computer users will say, especially if they’re relatively new, I didn’t add that to my browser or I don’t remember changing that.  They’re right they didn’t do it directly.  However, they allowed it to happen.  They just didn’t know it at the time.

Opt-in

Opt-in is a method used to gain permission from the agreeing party to add them to a list or provide a service or install a piece of software or make a modification to their computer configuration.  Sometimes, the continue button is disabled until you agree to Opt-in.  Then there’s no way to avoid it.  You either agree to let it happen or you can cancel and get out.  Just be aware of what you’re agreeing to.

Opt-out

Opt-out is a method that assumes you already want to be on a mailing list or you want a service or software or modification to your computer configuration. To prevent this from happening, you must Opt-out.  In other words, you much reject their suggestion and turn off the checked items you don’t want to happen.  There will be some disclaimer on the page that suggests you are agreeing to allow modifications to occur unless you Opt-out by unchecking these items.

Be cautious everytime you install software

Any time you install software on your computer, be on the lookout for Opt-out or Opt-in checkboxes.  The Opt-out checkbox or boxes are usually in plain view.  They might be sandwiched between an introduction page and another page of information.  The Opt-out option might be on a second or third page where they catch you being inpatient and saying “yeah whatever, I just want to get this over with” as you click the continue button.

Catch the next blog to see some answers on how to resolve some unwanted Opt-out artifacts.

These topics will be covered in upcoming blogs:

  • Restoring my home page
  • Getting rid of that unwanted browser toolbar.
  • Removing unwanted desktop shortcuts
  • Removing unwanted extra software